Who should elevate Carandang suspension before Supreme Court?

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 03 2018 08:10 PM

Who should elevate the suspension of deputy ombudsman Melchor Carandang before the Supreme Court? Ex solicitor general Florin Hilbay (left) says it should be the president, but presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo argues it should be the deputy ombudsman himself.

The Office of the President should be responsible for elevating the issue of the preventive suspension of Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Carandang before the Supreme Court, former solicitor general Florin Hilbay said Saturday.

Hilbay said this is due to the fact that it is the president who seeks to reverse the high court’s 2014 ruling, which declared unconstitutional a provision in the Ombudsman Act of 1989 granting the Office of the President the power to remove a deputy ombudsman.

"Procedurally po kasi, kung gustong baguhin ng Palasyo iyong desisyon na 'yun, sila ang dapat mag-akyat nu'ng question sa Korte Suprema," Hilbay told radio DZMM.

“ 'Yung gustong magpa-reverse nu'ng decision ng SC, siya 'yung kailangan umakyat. At ang gusto pong magpa-reverse ay ang Office of the President."

Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo, meanwhile, said it is Carandang who should elevate the issue to the high court.

"Mali 'yun, meron kang official presumption of regularity nga. Hangga’t di sinasabi ng hukuman na ito’y illegal, you have to implement. If you want to challenge the legality of the order, then you go to the court," he said.

"Kung sino 'yung nagrereklamo, siya ang dapat pumunta sa hukuman, ganu'n lang kasimple 'yun. Ikaw nagrereklamo, pumunta ka sa hukuman na nilabag ang karapatan mo.”

Hilbay said that not all actions of public officials have presumption of regularity.

"Example, ang presidente, sinubukan niyang gumawa ng batas on his own, without the participation of Congress, walang maniniwala na may presumption of regularity 'yung ginawa nu'ng presidente dahil ang president ay wala namang legislative powers," he said.

"Ang ginagawa niya ngayon ay nagle-legislate siya actually dahil gusto niyang mag-exercise ng jurisdiction kay deputy ombudsman Carandang. Ang ginagawa niya para siyang nagpapasa ng batas."

Hilbay maintained that the SC ruling holds unless it is reversed.

"Huling desisyon at clear na desisyon ng Korte Suprema ay unconstitutional 'yung Section 8, Paragraph 2 ng RA 6770 kaya ang huling salita ng Supreme Court interpreting our Constitution ay ang presidente walang kapangyarihan na disiplinahin ang isang deputy ombudsman. 'Yun po ang current state of the law," he said.

"Ang pag-interpret ng ating Konstitusyon ay ang function ng Korte Suprema. Kaya kapag ang ating Korte Suprema na highest court of the land ay nagsalita na, whether we agree or disagree, kahit na 8-7 majority lang 'yan, ‘yun ang ibig sabihin ng batas at ng ating Konstitusyon. Wala na tayong karapatan na mag-disagree sa utos ng Korte Suprema sa interpretasyon ng Konstitusyon."

Malacañang had charged Carandang with grave misconduct and grave dishonesty for his supposed illegal disclosure of the Dutertes' bank accounts.

It also placed Carandang under a 90-day preventive suspension, which Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said her office would not implement.

At least two senators earlier called on the SC to intervene in the apparent standoff between Malacañang and the Ombudsman.